Shooting-China’s Yang wins battle of nerves to claim Tokyo’s first gold

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Shooting - Women's 10m Air Rifle - Medal Ceremony - Asaka Shooting Range, Tokyo, Japan – July 24, 2021. Gold medallist Yang Qian of China celebrates on the podium REUTERS/Ann Wang

TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) – China’s Yang Qian claimed the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday after prevailing in a battle of nerves with Russian Anastasiia Galashina in the women’s 10-metre rifle competition.

Galashina barely made it to the final, grabbing the last of the eight qualifying slots, but was in pole position for gold until she cracked under the pressure.

Her last shot of 8.9 was the lowest of any competitor in the final, leaving her on a total of 251.1.

Yang was not immune to the pressure at the Asaka Shooting Range but her below-par final shot of 9.8 was still enough to snatch the gold with an Olympic record total of 251.8.

Switzerland’s Nina Christen won the bronze, while American world number two Mary Tucker was eliminated early and finished sixth.

Supporters and team mates watched the nail-biting final in the stands, cheering to the rock music piped into the venue.

When International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach presented the medals, the athletes all waved their sunflower bouquets towards the crowd, their smiles obscured behind their masks.

“I was really nervous. The competition was really tight, but I’m so happy that I could win,” Yang said after winning an event which did not feature a single medallist from Rio.

More Stories